Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Brown Hopes to Capture Undecideds in Connecticut

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Brown Hopes to Capture Undecideds in Connecticut

Article excerpt

CAMPAIGN volunteers for presidential candidate Jerry Brown are out in full force knocking on doors, making telephone calls, and encouraging Connecticut residents to cast their votes in this state's primary election today.

The former California governor's unconventional political campaign is suddenly gaining more attention with the withdrawal last week from the presidential race of former United States Sen. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts. For the many Tsongas Democrats here in this southern New England state bordering Massachusetts, it now comes down to a choice between either former Gov. Brown or Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton (D).

"Essentially, it has created a large bloc of undecided voters so there is an opportunity for Brown's 'granola guerrillas' to contact as many people or more as Clinton can through his slick media campaign," says Bill Garrett, Brown's chief Connecticut campaign organizer.

Mr. Garrett says he's seeing more and more volunteers signing on to work for the campaign. Brown's appearance at Bridgeport City Hall last week drew 50 more volunteers, he says.

In this economically depressed Connecticut city, Brown's anti-establishment message attracted an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 300. Unemployment is high, store fronts are empty, and the city's financial stability is in question.

"Millions of Americans are being left behind. And for those who are responsible, it's time for them to go....," said Brown. "Let's get serious here. This whole campaign is a Gong Show of empty TV commercials paid for by Wall Street bankers and lawyers and lobbyists who are responsible for the mess we're in."

This state, like the rest of New England, is struggling amid a severe regional recession. It has been hit with a budget deficit, high unemployment, and the decline of the defense industry, a key employer here.

Brown has vowed not to accept campaign contributions of more than $100 per contributor. His unusual, low-cost campaign may attract some voters here, say political analysts. He raises money through an 800 telephone number and at campaign events, where a basket is passed around to collect small-size contributions. His campaign schedule is often drawn up at the last minute the day before. …

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